The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
13 August 2001 / FA125

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

I have today announced the appointment of Mr David Binns as High Commissioner for Australia to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Maldives. Mr Binns will succeed Mr Peter Rowe, who has been High Commissioner since January 1999.

Australia and Sri Lanka share close bonds of friendship which are reinforced by our strong trade ties, our common membership of the Commonwealth and extensive people-to-people ties that are based on the large Sri Lankan community in Australia.

Australia is currently the second largest foreign investor in Sri Lanka. Two-way trade is about $300 million, with food and agricultural products as Australia's major exports. Australia is increasingly becoming a favoured destination for Sri Lankans studying overseas. Tea and garments make up most of Australia's imports from Sri Lanka.

There are good prospects for strong growth in Australia's commercial relationship with Sri Lanka in coming years.

Mr Binns, a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is currently Director of the Indonesia Section. He has held a range of positions in Canberra, including Director of Defence and Intelligence Policy (1999-00) and Director of the East Asia Analytical Unit (1994-96).

Overseas, Mr Binns has served as Counsellor in Jakarta (1996-99), First Secretary in Jakarta (1990-92) and Third Secretary in Hong Kong (1984-87). He has also undertaken short term missions to Beijing (1987-88) and Shanghai (1986).

Educated at Macquarie University and Sydney University, Mr Binns holds Bachelor Degrees in Arts and Economics. He is married to Indra McCormick, also an Australian diplomat, and they have two children. Mr Binns is expected to start his posting as High Commissioner early in the New Year.

Media inquiries:  Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 672777 500, Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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